Procurement & Campus Services

About Contracts and Contract Policy 

Competitive, non-contract purchases that are available from more than one source of supply are limited up to $10,000 without benefit of public bid.   Such purchases that total between $10,000 and $50,000 may be obtained without benefit of public bid when accompanied by three written quotes1. See Processing Requirements for Purchases, Charts A, B, C, and D – for a complete explanation of the requirements for the type of purchase that you wish to make (link available below). 

The University recognizes four types of contracts, which, generally speaking, enable departments to purchase materials/services in excess of the $10,000 limit when accompanied by a single quotation from the contract vendor.  There are no dollar restrictions for contract purchases, but there may be other types of documentation requirements.  See Processing Requirements for Purchases, Charts A-E (link available below).

The four types of contracts follow:

  1. Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium Contracts (MHEC), a purchasing consortium created for, and used by, many institutions of higher education throughout New England;
  2. Campus Contracts, created by the UMass Amherst Procurement Department for use by the Amherst Campus;
  3. State Contracts, created by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for use by all agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
  4. University Contracts, created by the UMass Purchasing Council for use by all six UMass campuses.

Contracts make use of the University's buying power by committing one or more types of products to one or more vendors.  In exchange, the contract participants receive special pricing based on the vendor's anticipation of business to be realized during the contract term.

Procurement reserves the right to review the items requested and the individual contract used prior to approving a purchase order to determine if a separate bid would provide more advantageous pricing and terms. This is done because many contracts through the State and MHEC are contracts that are meant to appeal to a large number of institutions/ State entities but don’t always produce the best pricing and terms. On large purchases, the best method is generally a dedicated bid for the particular commodity/service that is required. The department will be alerted if a bid is required. Please note that because a vendor is listed as being on contract does not mean that everything they sell is covered by that contract. Departments should check for the specific items that they wish to purchase. Also note that each contract also has a defined contract term so departments are cautioned to check the contract dates before they issue a purchase requisition to insure that the contract is valid. 

Departments are encouraged to use contracts, regardless of the dollar amount to be spent, to realize savings, to support the intent of the contract, and to meet Board of Trustee requirements.

Note that a University contract should always take precedence over any similar contract that might be offered by any other contracting entity.

Access to the Most Commonly Used Purchase Contracts
Processing Requirements for Purchases

1Exception:  Labor and Materials Construction Contracts/Building Maintenance, which is governed by Massachusetts State Law, have their own unique processing requirements and dollar restrictions.


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This page is maintained by the Procurement Department